It started in the Garden, with the first man and woman created by God from the dust of His earth. Adam and Eve walked with God in the cool of the day in their garden home. Imagine what they talked about! God had given them authority over all that He created and had allowed Adam to name all the vast varieties of living creatures. God was the Designer of their world and their lives, and He was the Author of love. But He gave them another gift, the gift of choice—they were free to love and obey their Creator, or choose not to do so.
There was only one restriction in the beautiful, protective garden. God commanded the first couple not to eat from the tree in the middle of their garden—the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And because God loved them so, He warned them immediately of what would happen if they made the wrong choice—they would die. For some, this brings God’s love into question. Why didn’t He just protect them from the temptation to break His commandment? And why did He put that particular tree in the Garden when He knew what could happen?
Perhaps the answer is a simple one. Most of us don’t want to be in a forced relationship. We will not have a close, personal relationship with someone who does not love us.
It can be a struggle to see God this way. But He is the author of genuine love, and He desires the same relationship with us–one of choice. He desires us to come to Him freely and give our lives to Him in devotion. He will not decide for any of us.
His will for and love toward us all, is made clear throughout Scripture, including in the second part of II Peter 3:9. “But he is waiting, for the good reason that he is not willing that any should perish, and he is giving more time for sinners to repent.”* God’s will is that none should perish, but that all should receive His gift of eternal life. We know that someday this world will end, but He waits patiently because of His love for all.
In Luke 18:23, we also we see the gift of choice. A rich young ruler had all he needed in life. One day he met Jesus face-to-face. He wanted to know what he had to do to inherit eternal life, so Jesus told him that he had to follow Him even if it meant giving up all he had. The young man made his choice: “But when the man heard this he went away, for he was very rich.” He chose his wealth over a relationship with his Savior.
God is the Author of genuine love and He designed all this world holds, including the gift of choice. Have you made the choice to receive Him into your life? If your answer is no, what questions do you feel you need answered to help you in your decision?
*references from The Living Bible